Without the perseverance of dedicated females many years ago, life for today’s woman might be significantly different. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretria Coffin Mott, Lucy Burns, Alice Paul, and other likeminded women worked diligently to secure the beginnings of numerous rights so enjoyed by women of the United States today. Workings of Mott and Stanton that began in 1840 and then later women’s suffrage protests led by Burns and Paul helped women finally gain the right to vote. Aug. 26, 1920 is that date of importance for women.
When we think about the fact that less than 100 years ago women had very little vocal input in society many of us may realize that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers lived in a time of oppression that we could surely not handle today in the year of 2013. Living in a time where wealthy white men made the rules and the voice of the woman was silent seems like something from a horror show to me. What a ridiculous notion to cast women as less competent or capable in shaping important rules governing our society.
Many people associate women’s rights or a women’s rights movement to years of women burning their bras and being radical in their approach for equality to men. Factually, there were no defined “bra burnings,” rather, during some protests, women burned many items connected to the way the men of society chose to define her. Beauty items such as makeup made the bulk of what actually did burn during these protests. What we note from this timeframe is that just the same as the days of Mott and Stanton, the outcome depended on the ability of women to communicate and persuade in an intellectual and thoughtful manner. She had to prove her worthiness.
Women always had to prove an intellectual ability whereas white men were simply born into the privilege of certain luxuries. Some of this attitude still exists in the United States today. Although not nearly as much, women still receive different treatment than men do. The struggles she did face and still faces today are not unlike that of the racial struggles that have occurred in our country. Black men did not enjoy the right to vote until approximately 50 years prior to women gaining the same right. In fact, there were points when the two oppressed groups worked together.
I truly enjoy reading about those people who influenced the ways in which we view the world today. Even reaching far beyond our Western existence to recognize the long-ago workings of Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Cicero and numerous other influential individuals, to grasp how persuasive speech tactics, including all forms of body language and word selection, bring us to believe the things we believe. Most notably, we use these items in our attempts to prove who has power over another. We label and define others according to our views.
In our modern existence, we have labels for everything and everyone. Any person who wants to form a separate identity from the masses or any person who feels slighted by the masses can place a label on his or her cause. Speaking toward women’s rights, there are numerous feminist labels and each group believes something a little different from the rest. If I were to select a group to identify with, I believe it would be the power feminist. She does not see herself as a victim because she is a woman. She does not stagnate in the “blame game.” Rather, she takes the stance that a woman has the power to overcome obstacles and does not allow men or women to tell her she cannot do something or cannot be something. It is up to her alone to prove what she can do. No one else can do that for her, lest she would be a “victim,” which she is not.
Whatever label it is that today’s modern woman would want to place upon herself, we should remember that women from long ago helped to provide that right. Even before Moss and Stanton, women here and far away were perfecting the approaches that women still use today in attempts to have equal opportunity and an equal existence. These women of the past gave voice and thus opportunity to the female population.
Because of the riches and opportunities women enjoy today, the very least a woman should do is to exercise the right that really opened the door for her. When the appropriate dates arise, she should take advantage of that hard fought right to vote and to be heard. The woman’s life might be quite different in our country today if not for these often-taken-for-granted beginnings.